Cleveland, Ohio (October 2, 2001) – An Ohio court of appeals has upheld an Ohio law limiting costly and discriminatory union-only contracts, called project labor agreements (PLAs), on state-funded construction projects. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys filed a “Friend of the Court” brief in the case defending the law.
The Eighth District of the Ohio Court of Appeals ruled in Ohio State Building and Construction Trade Department v. Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners that Ohio’s HB 101, the Open Contracting Act, does not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The court’s decision overturned a lower court’s ruling striking down the law passed by the legislature in 1999.
“PLAs amount to extortion – union officials demand taxpayer handouts and government-granted special privileges in exchange for not ordering strikes or causing other disruptions,” said Stefan Gleason, Vice President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This is a victory for Ohio taxpayers, workers, and job providers.”
Under union-only PLAs, union-friendly politicians award contracts on government-funded construction projects only to contractors who agree to force compulsory unionism on their employees. PLAs usually require contractors to grant union officials monopoly bargaining privileges over all workers; force their employees to pay union dues; use exclusive union hiring halls; and pay above-market prices resulting from wasteful work rules and featherbedding.
In a “Friend of the Court” brief, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argued that HB 101 is not preempted by the NLRA because the Act protects the state’s right to decide whether or not to contract with unions. That argument was echoed in the court’s ruling.
Ohio’s state legislature passed HB 101 in 1999 after four union-only construction projects generated massive cost overruns. Union officials almost immediately challenged the new law in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, which issued an injunction stopping enforcement of the law. The appeals court ruling now clears the way for enforcement of the law.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in about 200 cases nationwide per year.